Back to School

It's time to start back to school again. We need to get back in the habit of knowing where our neighborhood schools are. In Springfield, there are more than 40 public and private elementary schools. These schools are scattered across the city. Each morning and afternoon that school is in session, a school speed zone is in effect. The speed limit is 20 mph for one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon.

Obeying Speed Limits
It is vital that we obey these speed limits as our children's lives are at stake. These schools include kindergarten through fifth grade. Some of these children are five years old and very small. A parked car can obscure their view of you and your view of them. At these young ages they may not realize the importance of looking before they walk or run out into the path of your car. Driving at 20 mph will give you more time to react and avoid striking them. Springfield Traffic Officers place school zone speed enforcement as one of our highest priorities. We will be out in full force to assist in slowing down the traffic around these locations.

School Buses
School buses will again become a common sight on our city streets. The law requires a motorist to stop when the buses are loading or unloading children. Motorists behind and meeting the bus are required to stop. If the bus is on a road with 4 lanes or more, the oncoming traffic need not stop. Another safety issue is for parents to ensure that their children's coats and backpacks do not have loose cords attached to them. Children have had these cords become entangled in the bus doors as they exited the bus. The drivers have thought the child was safely off the bus, but as the bus drove away the children have been dragged.

Every school has crosswalks at the school and most have crossing guards. However, many children have to walk several blocks to school and may cross several roadways in the process where there isn’t a crossing guard or traffic signal to assist them. Drivers need to be vigilant long before they get to the “school zone.” The best thing a driver can do to decrease their risk of being involved in a crash with a child is to slow down. The slower you drive, the more time you have to react in those critical situations should one present itself.

Teach Your Children About Safety
Parents and guardians, you need to be talking with your children about their routes to and from school and ensuring they know how to cross the roadway safely. Many of the crashes that occurred last school year involved situations that could have been prevented had the pedestrians involved been crossing the roadway properly and safely. It’s everyone’s responsibility to lessen the chances of any crashes occurring. If we all do our part, we should see a drastic decline in these types of occurrences. Be safe!

As citizens we must protect our children. Traffic accidents are one of the deadliest hazards our children face. Let's do our part when we pass these schools by slowing down, watching, and expecting the unexpected.